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Brittany Ferries’ Saint-Malo will be the largest hybrid-vessel ever built

(21 June 2022) Brittany Ferries Saint-Malo will be the world’s largest hybrid ship, when she joins the fleet in less than three years. Her batteries will boast a capacity of 11.5 MWh, approximately double that typically used for hybrid propulsion in marine vessels.

To improve efficiency further, she will integrate multiple systems allowing real-time, energy optimisation while sailing. Optimised energy efficiency, hybrid power and shore-side plug-in has the potential to yield an improvement of up to 15 per cent on greenhouse gas emissions compared with diesel propulsion – according to engine and battery supplier Wärtsilä

In total, StenaRoRo are constructing three hybrid ships, supplied with Wärtsilä hybrid technology. Two were specified by Brittany Ferries, with recently named Saint-Malo (destined for the St Malo – Portsmouth route) scheduled for delivery in 2024. Shortly thereafter, an as-yet-unnamed hybrid will join the fleet, running the company’s most popular Caen-Portsmouth route.

The hybrids will replace Bretagne and Normandie respectively, two of the longest serving vessels in the family.

“Brittany Ferries is proud to be taking a lead in sustainable shipping, working with our partners to bring cleaner vessels to the regions in which we operate,” said Christophe Mathieu Brittany Ferries CEO. “Hybrid technology continues to move our fleet renewal programme forward and will follow the introduction of two LNG-powered ships. From day one of operation, ports like St Malo in France and Portsmouth in the UK will benefit. Shore-side power capability means further benefits will be realised, as investment by ports in plug-in infrastructure allows.”

The ships are the latest in a series of e-Flexer class vessels to be specified by, and chartered to Brittany Ferries, from Stena RoRo.

“Stena wants to be a frontrunner in decarbonising our fleet and, together with our partners, pushing developments towards zero emission operations,” added Per Westling, MD StenaRoRo. “Hybridisation allows our vessels to be highly flexible as we adapt to future technology developments, including green fuels, fuel cells, bigger batteries, and solar or wind supported propulsion.”

As well as engines and batteries, marine specialist Wärtsilä will supply gearboxes and propellors for the hybrid ships.

“This order further strengthens Wärtsilä’s leadership in the hybrid segment,” added Hakan Agnevall, President and CEO Wärtsilä. “The extensive battery size will allow the vessels to operate with full power, using both propellors and all thrusters to manoeuvre emissions-free in and out of ports, even in bad weather. The built-in shore power solution will charge the batteries while berthed.”